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Thailand To Issue Passport For Ex-PM Thaksin Soon: FM

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Thailand to issue passport for ex-PM Thaksin soon: FM

by Boonradom Chitradon

BANGKOK, December 2, 2011 (AFP) - Thailand will issue a passport for its fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra "very soon," his sister's government said Friday, angering the controversial ex-leader's opponents.

Thaksin, who remains a hugely divisive figure, was deposed by the army in 2006 and lives in self-imposed exile overseas to avoid a two-year prison term on a conviction for corruption that he contends is politically motivated.

He was stripped of his passport by the previous Thai government but received citizenship from Montenegro last year, allowing him to travel internationally.

His sister Yingluck is now premier after a resounding election victory by his party earlier this year, in the wake of mass opposition protests in 2010 by Thaksin's "Red Shirt" supporters which ended with a bloody army crackdown.

"When Thaksin's passport was cancelled, there was no order from the courts or the police to seize it," Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told reporters.

"So I will use my authority to do whatever is not illegal under the regulations of the ministry to give the passport to ex-premier Thaksin," he said.

"We are checking some more details but it will be very soon. It will be a normal Thai passport. Let's make a normal passport legally first. It doesn't have to be a diplomat passport."

The announcement stoked tensions with Thaksin's enemies, already irked by recent reports -- denied by the government -- of plans to see a royal pardon for the ex-premier that could allow him to return without serving time.

The opposition Democrat Party said it was not surprised by the decision to issue a new passport for Thaksin, saying that Surapong's "only duty" as foreign minister was to help the fugitive ex-premier.

"If you look at his background, he has no knowledge of foreign languages, no foreign policy experience," Democrat Party spokesperson Chavanond Intarakomalyasut told AFP.

"He was appointed only to help Thaksin. It is the only thing he is good for and his only duty as foreign minister."

Thailand's influential and anti-Thaksin "Yellow Shirt" royalist movement said the foreign minister could be breaking the law by issuing Thaksin a Thai passport as it is illegal for Thais to hold dual nationality.

"(Surapong) must be able to answer questions over Thaksin holding another nationality and being a fugitive," a spokesman for the People's Alliance for Democracy, Parnthep Puapongpan, told AFP.

The PAD disagrees with the decision but will not organise protests, he said, adding that if it became clear that the minister's action was illegal the group would file a complaint with the relevant authorities.

News of Thaksin's new passport comes at a delicate time for Yingluck as the 44-year-old leader, who was a political novice before taking office in August, grapples with the fallout from devastating floods.

She was hospitalised earlier this week with diarrhoea, fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea but discharged after an overnight stay.

In the early days of her premiership, Thaksin appeared keen to boost his profile with controversial trips to Japan and Cambodia, but he has largely remained silent during the flooding.

Yingluck has not yet taken any legal action clearing the path for his return, and analysts have warned it would be risky for her to do so during the flood crisis, although the waters are now receding in many areas.

afplogo.jpg

-- (c) Copyright AFP 2011-12-02

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Even more grist for the mill. Oh well.

The government has their priorities sorted.

.

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Even more grist for the mill. Oh well.

The government has their priorities sorted.

.

Thaksin thinks Phua Thai does..........not Yingluck thinks Phua Thai does.

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Was it all his Thai passports or just his diplomatic one they pulled ?.....

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Isn't it illegal to hold Thai and foreign passports? He will have to decide which country he really calls home.

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Well I have to admit there is a certain honesty in this government. Thaksin spent billions of baht to get them elected, and now they are paying him back.....

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Was it all his Thai passports or just his diplomatic one they pulled ?.....

Thaksin's ordinary passport was revoked on April 12, 2009.

http://www.google.com/search?q=thaksin+passport+revoked&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

His diplomatic passport was revoked in December 2008.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-08/15/c_131050805.htm

The above link also contains the interesting comments from the same Foreign Minister Surapong who, purely coincidentally, is Thaksin's cousin...

BANGKOK, Aug. 15, 2011 (Xinhua) -- Thai new foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul reaffirmed on Monday that there has been no preparation to hand back the ousted ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra his diplomatic passport.

"Pheu Thai Party has no such a policy and the most important issue the party has focused on is trade," he added.

.

Edited by Buchholz

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Isn't it illegal to hold Thai and foreign passports? He will have to decide which country he really calls home.

If that is the case Khun Mark better decide whether he wants to stay in Thailand or otherwise the only army covering his ass back this time would be the Toon Army.

Edited by phiphidon

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Isn't it illegal to hold Thai and foreign passports? He will have to decide which country he really calls home.

If that is the case Khun Mark better decide whether he wants to stay in Thailand or otherwise the only army covering his ass back this time would be the Toon Army.

I believe he doesnt have a British passport although he could be entitled to one.

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They should have done this long ago, no country should deprive their citizens from their nationality , ID or passport cuz governments easily could use this as a political weapon , that's why i don't understand how so many countries call themselves democracies and still they have this kind of laws. :jap:

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FM Surapong says he'll return ordinary passport to ex-PM Thaksin soon as New Year's gift; insists move complies with ministerial regulations /MCOT

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Well I have to admit there is a certain honesty in this government. Thaksin spent billions of baht to get them elected, and now they are paying him back.....

Just to clarify - was that comment intended as a positive ?

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They should have done this long ago, no country should deprive their citizens from their nationality , ID or passport cuz governments easily could use this as a political weapon , that's why i don't understand how so many countries call themselves democracies and still they have this kind of laws. :jap:

No... it must be very undemocratic to cancel the passports of convicted felons.

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insists move complies with ministerial regulations

Ministerial regulations as in regulations relating to ministers ?

I guess the law is whatever they decide it is, at any time it suits them.

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